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Chelsea’s plans to recruit more players in the January transfer window remain unchanged despite the resignation of Michael Emenalo as the technical director, with Ross Barkley likely to once again be a top target for Antonio Conte.
According to The Daily Telegraph, the Everton midfielder, who is yet to feature in any game this season having undergone two surgery sessions on a groin injury and then a torn hamstring, and a target man are topping the Premier League reigning champions’ target list.
Emenalo, who vacated his job at the start of the week, was at the core of Chelsea’s recruitment strategy, but that role will be temporarily occupied by director Marina Granovskaia, who has already initiated contact with agents regarding the winter transfer window.
The Blues will also cool down on their interest in Juventus full-back Alex Sandro having had two bids for the Brazilian rejected during the summer. The West Londoners have accepted that a deal of such weight is unlikely to come through in the middle of the season and willing to delay making new bids.
But Chelsea’s attention will be fully focused on luring Barkley to Stamford Bridge after a planned move for the 23-year-old fell through on deadline day in August. A deal worth £35m (€39.5m) had been agreed between the two clubs, but the deal couldn’t be completed
Tottenham Hotspur also showed interest in Barkley and Mauricio Pochettino’s side could renew their pursuit of the England international and offer him the chance to feature regularly in the central park.
Pochettino wants Barkley to partner Eric Dier in a deeper role, and while he would have opportunities in a Chelsea midfield that has been plagued with injury, the Merseysider would be the first choice at Spurs.
Barkley’s intention is unknown, but having refused to pen a new deal in the summer, his Everton career appears to be over. He is due to resume action next month and having missed the first half of the season he will be eager to grace the pitch more often in order to force his way into Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the World Cup finals in Russia.